‘Thicker Than Smoke’ benefit raises $190,000 for fire first responders

The weekend events brought more than 2,000 people to SSU for music and stories.|

The two “Thicker Than Smoke” benefit events hosted Aug. 3-4 by Sonoma State University’s Green Music Center raised nearly $190,000 for the Community Foundation Sonoma County’s Resilience Fund, to support first responders impacted by the October 2017 wildfires.

On Aug. 3, an audience of more than 200 people came to the center’s Weill Hall to hear the personal stories of those who fled and lost their homes during the fires Oct. 8 and 9, including Judy K. Sakaki, president of Sonoma State University, as well as firefighters, police and others.

On Aug. 4, a crowd of more than 2,000 turned out at the Weill Hall and its lawn for an evening of songs and stories, featuring country music star Brad Paisley and actress Bonnie Hunt.

“I could not be more proud of how our community came together for this event.

“We all owe a sincere thank you to the first responders who fought, and are continuing to fight, the merciless fires that are tearing through our state,” Sakaki said in a statement.

The two events raised $134,330 in ticket sales, with sponsors donating another $55,000 for a total of $189,330.

You can reach staff writer Dan Taylor at 707-521-5243 or dan.taylor@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @danarts.

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